Date of Award

Winter 3-15-2024

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. William Burghart

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Hanneman


In 411 CE, the Roman legions left the island of Britain, never to return. This led to the slow decline of the Romano-Britons until their ultimate defeat at the hands of the Anglo-Saxons invaders. The Anglo-Saxons would remain on the island slowly supplanting the native Celtic language and culture until the Old English emerged. Out of this era emerged stories of a Celtic hero that would drive out the foreign invaders and reclaim Britain for the Celtic Britons. This story would later become very popular on the continent of Europe and the Celtic legend of Arthur would change. Using a literary lens I have analyzed the famous accounts of this era written before the continental expansion of Arthur’s lore to analyze how Arthur changed from a post-Roman warlord. My research began with a desire to understand how Celtic Arthur developed and how he was portrayed.

In this essay I argue that King Arthur represents the hope for Welsh sovereignty and a desire to expel the non-Celtic peoples on the island. Understanding how Arthur changed from a post-Roman warlord to a Briton king can help us understand how the Celtic Britons saw themselves and their struggle for sovereignty against the English.